Psycho Pass: Mandatory Happiness - Review

Psycho Pass: Mandatory Happiness is a visual novel video game developed by 5pb in Japan, NIS America in North America / Europe and published by Bandai Namco here in Australia. The video game is based upon the anime series "Psycho Pass" and introduces new characters and a story set within the first eight episodes of the anime series. 

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Psycho Pass, it is set in the near future where by advanced technological developments have allowed one’s mental state and disposition to be quantified and profiled.
For the public’s welfare, all emotions and thoughts are documented and managed by the Sibyl System. This system measures the quality of each person’s life by what is known as the Psycho-Pass, a reading of an individual’s mind. Broken down into two main components, the Psycho-Pass is the system’s omniscient eyes of justice. One of these components is the Hue, which is a visual representation of the Psycho-Pass that conveys a person’s stress level. The other is the Crime Coefficient, which is a numerical value that represents a person’s criminal capacity. This number determines whether an individual requires enforcement by the detectives of the Public Safety Bureau. Detectives are divided into two groups: Enforcers, who are tasked with the investigation of crimes and the apprehension of criminals, and Inspectors, who are charged with managing the Enforcers.
Psycho Pass allows the player to follow the story as either the Inspector Nadeshiko Kugatachi, who has recently lost her memories, or as an Enforcer, Takuma Tsurugi, a hot headed officer who is in search of a missing childhood friend who has mysteriously disappeared.

Much akin to a ‘choose your own adventure story'; this visual novel follows the story of the two main characters as they solve cases, giving you the choice to decide the best course of action for each situation faced, being mindful that every decision has its own repercussions. These decisions are all part of a twisted plot, which can provide a different number of endings, in which it may be that some cases are left unsolved. Without giving anything away, the story is layered into two parts. There are the multiple cases that are to be solved, which all form part of a bigger case that ties them all together.
Psycho Pass, being based upon the Japanese anime, is entirely in Japanese with English subtitles. At first it may be hard to get into the game, but this is a visual novel, so expect to be reading the screen a lot unless you are fluent in Japanese. With that being said, there are the options to adjust the volume of the characters voices, but surprisingly the story can get you hooked and intrigued. With being a visual novel, much of the gameplay, and using term "gameplay" loosely, is mainly just pressing “X” button on the controller to move onto the next text, and occasionally you are given a choice in regards to solving a case. The choice is entirely in your hands as certain votes from other character are tied, leaving you with the final word on the decision.
The story flows from scene to scene with the characters you are interacting with displayed on screen amidst the backdrop of the room, building or area you are in. Cut scenes are mainly a blend of changing from one background to another, with a little animation in between with sound effects and music to add to the mood and drama of the story.
Overall Psycho Pass: Mandatory Happiness is something different, and a game that normally might not be one's choice to have in the library, but after giving it time, the story draws you in and gets you hooked much like a real graphic novel, where your choices direct the path of the story.

SCORE: 7.5 out of 10
  • Captivating story
  • Great anime backgrounds
  • Smooth transition between scenes
  • Simple game play
  • Voice dialogue entirely in Japanese
Platforms:  PlayStation 4
Genre:  Visual Novel
Initial Release: 16th September 2016  
Developer:  5pb
Publisher: 5pb, NIS America, Bandai Namco

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